Ford MOVE is an innovative service designed to expand the impact of community organizations. The vending program improves access to critical resources and connects people to sustainable care.
The Bill Ford Better World Challenge Grant selected and funded my proposal; Salvation Army receiving $250,000 to execute the vision.
Kelly Bedro
Salvation Army of SE Michgan


The Bill Ford Better World Challenge provides grants to employee led initiatives geared toward improving people's quality of life. Selected projects take deep dives into global concerns relating to food, water, shelter, and mobility; partnering with community organizations to craft sustainable solutions.
I led an initial team of 4 through an initial 3 month development cycle—facilitated by Henry Ford Learning Institute’s (HFLI) Social Innovation Studio—to validate the need, build out a business plan, and form key partnerships. I then designed the branding and, with Kelly Bedro, continue guiding The Salvation Army and support organizations to implement the project.
Ford MOVE is a mobile vending model that empowers social mobility. It's comprised of a custom Ford Transit which supplies basic need items to people in marginalized communities; making resources mobile for people with limited mobility. Meanwhile, strategically located vending machines connect individuals to trained representatives who can provide assistance or remotely dispense critical care items.
The purpose of both components is to facilitate contact between an NGO and the communities it seeks to serve. Fostering relationships through these interactions enables organizations to tailor sustainable services to elevate people from their current situation.

What's My Why?

Though proud of my Thirty Under 30 contributions, I felt there was more I could do if given additional time and resources. I observed this sentiment shared by many nonprofit leaders, including Pope Francis Center's, due to these barriers of time and resources. The center provides life saving services but only operates 24 hours out of the week. What about the other 144?
What do people do if their critical needs don't align with a nonprofit's hours of operation?
Empowerment and access are important driving themes in my life. I envisioned the community vending model as a way to serve both. It meets human needs regardless of when the need arises, maintains a user's dignity & independence, and fosters trust between NGOs and potential clients.
Though 100% voluntary work beyond my day job, this now 2 year project fuels my creative passion and speaks to my purpose.


I first encountered a Uniqlo vending machine during a flight layover to China. I was familiar with automated retail—e.g. Best Buy Express, Proactive, Redbox, etc.—but the concept of accessible clothing stuck with me. I couldn't help but think of those on the margins who aren't afforded this convenience but stand to benefit most from its potential.
Asia showcased vending's capacity to meet a diversity of needs; well beyond snacks and soda. I saw an opportunity to flip this natively for-profit technology model for impact instead. I recognized the same advantages automated retail provides companies & customers that exchange goods, could likewise serve communities & impact-driven organizations by spreading good.

Partner Organization

Conducting interviews with organizations throughout the city, we elected to partner with The Salvation Army of Southeast Michigan. Their successful Bed & Bread Club network, trusted brand within the community, and expansion potential given their global presence made them ideal partners for launching this initiative.

Knowledge Building

Nonprofit Interviews
Vendor Capabilities


I hoped to launch with two NGO partners—one taking the vending machine while the other utilized the mobile unit—to highlight the flexibility of the service and promote organizational collaboration. Grant policy couldn't accommodate this route.
Salvation Army's Harbor Light Center is a 24hr facility; thus, an on-site machine didn't fulfill a true need. But this made us think more critically about where this technology could make the greatest impact, leading to positive feature refinements.
Despite this, Detroit was evolving and our site proposals didn't fit its plans. To preserve the concept's integrity, I made the hard decision to pivot focus; postponing the vending machine to a later phase when partner locations are better aligned.

Related Markets

There exists a vibrantly diverse market for van customization. Emergency response teams, small businesses owners, and outdoor adventurers alike benefit from modified Transits and Sprinters. We explored this industry to learn of current technologies and use cases that could inform our product's development.
After preliminary research, I found and attended a trade show that highlighted this exact market. The exposure helped the team visualize possibilities and harness the expertise of owners, fabricators, and upfitters in attendance.

Rosa Parks
Transit Center

The transit center was a common location for homeless individuals to seek temporary shelter or use one of the city's few public restrooms. Though not explicitly inviting, the center did not turn away those who followed strict rules. As a hub for moving people, this location would make our service accessible to a broader set of at-risk users such as human trafficking or abuse victims.

Salvation Army conducted productive talks with transit center management, but DDOT ultimately denied the request due to upcoming policy changes for the location.

Video Chat &
Remote Vending

We determined credits and access cards were too restrictive, especially for potentially critical scenarios at the transit center. We desired to serve people who may have nowhere left to turn (e.g. a single mother arriving from out of town after escaping with her child from an abusive partner) and requiring prior contact didn't serve these emergency needs.

I proposed an integrated video chat feature to enable representatives to vet each situation individually. After assessing the need, the rep can remotely vend appropriate items, print information for the user, or send out help if needed. Most valuably, the feature enables a human connection for the user in times of personal crisis.

Source: Kathleen Galligan

Greyhound Station

Greyhound's bus station was another option. Located relatively close to Rosa Parks, it offered many of the same benefits, but closed at 9PM. We discussed running the service from 6PM–9PM for extended, if not 24hr, access; but then the idea of outdoor installation arose.

Though feasible technologically, the location became nonviable as we learned of the city's desires to demolish the station for new development. These outdoor considerations brought about improvements to our design nonetheless.

Digital Display Panel

Outdoor installation came with added security concerns. Whereas traditional machines allow customers to peer through a glass window to view their options, we wanted to minimize the risk of vandalism or dishonesty to acquire what's inside.

We replaced this window with a large digital display panel; not only concealing stocked items but also providing NGOs a space to flexibly advertise services, share resources, and inform the public of ways to get involved.

Shelf Organization

Small items tend to slide off standard shelves when the vehicle is in motion. This disrupts organization and poses a potential risk to rear passengers. Clear sliding doors would keep items in place and provide better visibility to contents.

Custom Inserts

Could this containment unit be replaced with a custom vending machine? Can a similar implementation apply to the rear swing doors? Is this a desirable interaction for the user and how much interior space would it consume?

Flexible Storage

Modularly rackable bins would be beneficial during the loading and replenishment processes for staff and volunteers. Sorted items in color-coded bins would also make visually locating goods more efficient.

After rounds of team brainstorming, I suggested the name MOVE; encapsulating the theme of Mobile Vending and reflecting Ford's position as a leader in mobility.

Since 1903, the company has created innovative products that move people from where they are to where they want to be. Ford MOVE continues in this storied tradition as a facilitator for social mobility.

Early Drafts

As Ford's project lead (and only member with creative software), I took responsibility for developing branding elements. Early drafts served as simple visual aids to spark discussion, generate ideas, and provide a direction during the conceptual phase.

Logo Exploration | Adobe Illustrator

MOVE Vending Machine - Team Visualization Aid | Adobe Illustrator + Adobe Photoshop

2020 Pandemic

Covid-19 disrupted many plans and this project was no exception. Lockdown mandates, plant shutdowns, and staffing cuts impacted our direct supply chain; delaying vehicle procurement and fabrication. Furthermore, Salvation Army rightfully focused its efforts on tackling the surging needs in vulnerable communities.

The time away brought discouragement and loss of direction once all parties were able to reconvene. Anticipating this, I began refining the brand and vehicle design to reinvigorate the team. Though we laid out all specifications, I knew some people needed to see something to make it feel real. My process inspired two new features:

Vending Prize Door

To protect volunteers and guests alike from the virus, The Salvation Army installed plexiglass barriers for their Bed & Bread Truck serving windows. Though necessary, it reminded me of the bulletproof glass at some Detroit area fast food restaurants and banks. The exchange boxes also took up valuable countertop space.
To create more positive connotations, I instead incorporated a delivery door from traditional vending machines. This evokes the joy of retrieving prizes from arcade claw machines, reduces hand to hand contact, and integrates the vending motif into the mobile unit.


Ford Vandemonium 2018 | Source:

Digital Display

Continuing to borrow from our vending machine concept, I brought over the digital display panel as a flexibe info screen. This allowed the mobile unit to showcase available items, routes, and resources on any given day while advertising the service throughout the city.

Final Designs

Ford MOVE: Salvation Army Mobile Vending Unit Final Designs
Affinity Designer + Affinity Photo

Future Plans

Leading this initiative has been a fulfilling experience and I am immensely proud of the work my team and I have done despite challenging circumstances. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring this innovative service model to life with The Salvation Army and Ford.

Rather than relegate these types of efforts to side projects, I seek to shift my career towards a more impact-driven focus; dedicating my time to harness technology through design in service to others. In this and future endeavors, I look forward to inspiring community partners, sparking meaningful connections, and empowering people throughout society.

Next Steps

Field Tests
Public Launch
Future Partners
overviewProposalValidationDevelopmentBranding + RefinementNext steps